When Middlesex, UK, home owners Erica and Peter suffered their fifth flood in 2014, they had to do something. Deciding that they loved their River Thames-based home far too much to move, the couple commissioned architecture firm BAT Studio to build a greenhouse that could double-up as a flood-proof safe place to store their belongings.
Measuring 29 sq m (312 sq ft) and consisting of one large interior space, the aptly-named Greenhouse That Grows Legs is constructed from glue laminated timber, supported on a steel frame, and sports four hydraulic legs that work simultaneously to lift it 800 mm (2.6 ft) off the ground.
"We love our house by the Thames – the only drawback is the river floods," explains owner Erica, who also owns an amphibious car, pictured above. "When we bought the house in 2000 we were told the flood risk was 1 in a 100 but we have flooded five times. Our living area sits well above the flood level however our undercroft garage and storage area floods dramatically...
"We approached BAT Studio for a solution that could provide a safe refuge for bulky items during a flood but was also a useful space for the rest of the year."
The initial idea was for a floating structure, but during the design process, BAT Studio decided a lifting system would work better, as when the flood waters receded, a floating structure could come to rest atop uneven debris and silt.
Once a flood warning is issued, the owners pack their greenhouse with furniture and other possessions that are at risk from flood damage, then raise the structure via remote control. It then remains in a level raised position until the owners deem it safe for it to be lowered again.
The Greenhouse That Grows Legs was completed in early December, 2015.
Source: BAT Studio
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